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Prisoners regulating prisons: Voice, action, participation and riot

Buck, Gillian; Tomczak, Philippa

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Gillian Buck

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice


Prisoners are a critical source of prison regulation around the world, but regulation by (rather than of) prisoners remains little analysed. In this article, we utilise the 1990 riots at HMP Strangeways (England), as a case study of prisoners (re)shaping imprisonment. We examine prisoners’ roles in these riots and subsequent cross-sectoral regulatory activities. We innovatively use the four-phase process of translation from actor-network theory to guide document analysis of (1) Lord Woolf’s official inquiry into the riots and (2) the voluntary organisation Prison Reform Trust’s follow-up report. We explore how participatory approaches could inform prison regulation through (former) prisoners partnering with external regulators throughout the processes of identifying problems and solutions to establish broader alliances seeking social change.


Buck, G., & Tomczak, P. (2024). Prisoners regulating prisons: Voice, action, participation and riot. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 24(1), 144-163.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 16, 2022
Publication Date 2024-02
Deposit Date Jul 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 28, 2022
Journal Criminology and Criminal Justice
Print ISSN 1748-8958
Electronic ISSN 1748-8966
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 144-163
Keywords Law
Public URL
Publisher URL


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